This months Session (65th in the series) is hosted by Nathanial Southwood and invites us to share our thoughts on drinking in solitude “…How do you feel about going to the pub alone? Do you feel it’s necessary to be around friends to spend time in a pub?”.
The moment before I push the door open and walk to the bar my preoccupation is with my order. I scan the taps first, then the fridges if needs be and I order a beer. If this is a planned trip I will reach for my book, if I just happened by the pub then I will find a newspaper, failing this I will ogle my phone screen and catch up on a few blogs. If I am there alone for the minutes before a friend arrives, and if the atmosphere encourages it, I will talk to whoever serves me for longer than the obligatory “beer please….thank you“. This is not always a good idea and I’m getting better at reading the signs.
I don’t drink alone in the pub that often, but when I do I’m not thinking about being alone, I’m not thinking about what others think of me, I’m thinking about beer and about relaxing. Sadly these days I do have to think about relaxing before I can achieve it…..and relax.
I know there are people who shudder at the thought of drinking alone in the pub and I can understand how images of solitary folk propping the bar up and gently swaying to the beat of the till, could persuade a newcomer to a bar to take one look before turning and leaving. If you disagree with these people then consider Harry Hope’s depiction of a bar in The Iceman Cometh.
“The patrons, who are all men except for three women who are prostitutes, are all dead-end alcoholics who spend every possible moment seeking oblivion in each others’ company and trying to con or wheedle free drinks from Harry and the bartenders. They drift without purpose from day to day, coming fully to life only during the semi-annual visits of the salesman Theodore Hickman”.
Sadly, there are bars similar to this 100 years on from Harry Hope’s inspiration, and drinking alone in these conditions doesn’t bear thinking about. If you’ve read the book or seen the film then you’ll know that this kind of life doesn’t bode well. Drink Aware message over, I still believe that if you pick the right place, be in a positive frame of mind and enjoy the quality of the beer rather than the quantity, then drinking alone doesn’t have to be lonely.